SINGAPORE: Malaysians abroad whose passports expire in 2021 will be given a two-year validity extension for free, the High Commission of Malaysia in Singapore said on Tuesday (Jun 8).
The decision by the Malaysia Immigration Department was made in order to facilitate the surge in passport renewal overseas, it said in a Facebook post.
"Those affected may choose to have the extension stamped at the 'Observation Page' or at page 48 (of the passport) at the nearest high commission or embassy.
"There is no fee for the extension. This extension service is available immediately," the statement read.
Those wishing to have their passport validity period extended can fill up and submit an application form at the high commission. A date of appointment will then be emailed to the applicants, the statement said.
Photos showing Malaysians in Singapore queueing for long hours at the high commission to renew their passports were circulating on social media earlier this year.
In March, the Malaysian Immigration Department said that the congestion issue at the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore would be resolved. The department said it would station eight officers at the high commission to speed up the passport documentation process.
In its statement on Tuesday, the High Commission of Malaysia in Singapore said its immigration section could only cater to a "finite number of manual applications" due to its limitation in machine and manpower as well as social distancing regulations.
It added that its immigration section has been operating from 8am to 7pm daily since July 2020.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many countries to impose various travel conditions and restrictions, which led to many Malaysians postponing their travel plans.
"This prolonged (postponement) has caused many to stay longer overseas and some Malaysians are finding it necessary to renew their passport overseas because of the impending expiration date. This has resulted in the sudden increase of Malaysia International Passport (MIP) renewal at overseas offices," it said.
The high commission added that those who wish to renew their passports per current procedure may continue to do so.
"However, the current waiting time to get an MIP renewal including online renewals will take between eight and 12 weeks. This is due to high volume of MIP applications in the system," it said.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, an application fee of RM200 (S$64.30) applies for a passport with five years' validity. Children below 13 years old and senior citizens aged 60 and above have to pay RM100.